Shanghai SIPG will be without captain Sun Xiang for their AFC Champions League (ACL) group stage opener against Melbourne Victory on Wednesday.
SIPG coach Sven-Goran Eriksson declared the 34-year-old defender is close to returning to action but the match at AAMI Park is too soon for Sun, who is recovering from a hamstring injury.
Sun is one of three players in Eriksson's squad, who have previously won the ACL with Guangzhou Evergrande.
"The captain will not start tomorrow," Eriksson, a former England manager, said at his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
"The captain he's injured. He will be ready, hopefully, for the next game."